ALMOONQITH, in his first attempt over 2810m, landed the Gr3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at Meydan for Sheikh Hamdan, Mike de Kock and Paul Hanagan on Saturday evening. The stable also took third place with Star Empire.
The five-year-old entire by Dynaformer came around the field from several lengths off the clip and stayed on strongly to win by 1.50-lengths, setting a track record.
Almoonqith was travelling comfortably in the first half of the race and Hanagan said: “He was relaxed and going easy. I got a bit scared when we got a bump in the back straight, but he picked it up and won well.
Paul Hanagan: Four winners at the meeting.
“We were pretty sure Almoonqith was going to stay the distance it was just a case whether or not he was good enough. As it transpired I was always happy and that was a big performance,” added the jockey, who had ridden three earlier winners for Sheikh Hamdan.
The 2810m turf feature is the official prep for the Dubai World Cup day Dubai Gold Cup and in winning Almoonqith stamped himself as a possible candidate, Hanagan saying that, “it would be discussed with Sheikh Hamdan.”
Eight-year-old Star Empire gave of his best again, earning his 12th stake cheque since arriving in Dubai in 2010. His groom, Kootan Singh, received the prized for best turned out runner, a second such for the De Kock yard this week .
Photos by Andrew Watkins.